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Written by: Willie McGonigle on Saturday, November 16th, 2019
DOWNINGTOWN: The combined numbers are staggering 91 points, 998 yards total offense, 39 first downs. Those are the numbers that the Number 1 seed Downingtown West Whippets and the red hot 12th seed Haverford Fords combined to put up during the District 1 6A Semi Final at Downingtown’s Kottmeyer Stadium.
The scoreboard read in favor the host Whippets 49-42. The yardage battle also favored the Whippets 570-428. What’s more amazing is that most of the damage was done by the two signal callers Kansas State commit Will Howard for the Whippets and Buffalo commit Trey Blair
Howard did his damage through the air passing for 248 yards and three touchdown passes to go along with two rushing touchdowns, while Blair chose to do his damage with his legs rushing for 256 yards. In total Blair had a hand in 5 of the Fords 6 touchdowns
The difference came down to each team’s supporting cast lucky for the Whippets they had Tyriq Lewis in their corner and all he did was carry 26 times for 140 yards and the other two Whippets scores. For the Fords the rest of their offense only accounted for 53 yards.
“They are good especially offensively, they got weapons all over the place.” Fords coach Joe Gallagher said of the Whippets offence.
The Whippets reached into their bag of tricks on the opening using a half back pass Lewis to Julian Williams for a 34 yard gain to set them up at the Fords 8 yard and after an offsides penalty advanced the ball to the 4 Howard scored the first of his rushing touchdowns. The Whippets would extend their lead to 14 on their next with Lewis plunging his way in from a yard out.
Blair set up the Fords first score on the game when he took a draw 74 yards down to the Whippets 6-yardline and two plays later Chasen Wint would bully his way in from yard out cutting the deficit down to 14-7. However, the lead would again balloon to 14 with the Whippets going 66 yards on 7 plays before Howard would connect with Will Mahmud for a 5 yard to extend the lead to 21-7.
The Whippets would extend their lead to 35-7 with two rushing touchdowns by Howard covering a yard and 7 yards respectfully. It appeared has if the host were just going to run away with things, but Blair cut the deficit down to 35-14 at halftime with 20-yard scamper.
To open the second half the Whippets went 65-yards on 13 play drive that ate 7:04 off the clock and ended with the Howard-Mahmud connection striking again this time from 5 yards that extended the lead to 42-14.
However, Haverford showed their Ford tough mentality and counter with a scoring drive of their own going 79-yards thanks to 45-yard run by Blair, but it was his arm that capped the series connecting with Christian Pergolese for a 3-yard strike.
That score would set up the wild final quarter. The madness started after Jimmy Callahan blocked a Whippet punt setting up the Fords with a 1&10 at the Downingtown 21. On the next play Blair would connect with Chris Dempsey and suddenly the once large Whippet lead was down to 14 at 42-28,however the lead would again balloon to 21 when Howard would connect with Williams on crossing route that ended up going for the 52-yard touchdown and putting the Whippets up 49-28.
Blair would connect with Dempsey for a 56-yard gain that would eventually lead to a one-yard sneak cutting the lead down to 49-35. The Fords would recover the ensuing onsides kick and drive 49-yards with the capper coming on a Blair touchdown pass to Will Higson from 9-yards. The Fords were unable to recover the second onsides kick and the Whippets were able to run out the clock sealing their 12th victory which set a Downingtown West School record .
Afterwards Blair received nothing but praise from Whippet head coach Mike. “That kid over (Trey Blair) is amazing athlete, he’s one of the better high school football players I’ve seen in long time.” Those feelings were echoed by Howard who said Blair is “Heck of a football player, we came into the game knowing he was the guy they had to stop.” Howard added that he has a lot of respect for Blair and wishes him nothing but the best.
Howard also received high praise after the game. “He’s special athlete, I’ve had some great quarterbacks, but I’ve never had a Division 1 quarterback which he is.” Milano said. Gallagher echoed those sentiments saying of Howard “If you want to see what Division 1 Quarterback looks like. then you need to come see this kid play.”
The Whippets advance to next Friday’s District 1 6A Final in which they will have a chance to revenge their lone of the season when they host league rival and defending district champion Coatesville who got past Garnet Valley 48-27.
Despite the loss the Fords will get one more chance to go out a winner when they host rival Upper Darby on Thanksgiving morning at 10:45 am. Gallagher is happy about playing the Thanksgiving game because it gives his seniors a chance to go out a winner on their home field.
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